Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Warren F. Benton

Committee Members

Patrick O’Hara

Richard Schwester

Subject Categories

Criminal Procedure | Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Administration | Public Policy


Fraud, Waste, Abuse, and Corruption present significant challenges to the efficient use of public resources and stifle government service improvement by detracting from policy development and undercutting funding for important initiatives. The purpose of this study is to better understand the aids and impediments to investigations of these offenses and provide a generalizable definition for the mission of Inspectors General, the group tasked with monitoring and addressing these offenses. This study also sought to identify the material role of software in investigations of Fraud, Waste, Abuse, and Corruption. Through a purposive sampling, 18 Inspectors General from the federal, state, and local level were interviewed using the Critical Incident Technique to help recall cases investigated that they found significant. For each case data was collected on the significance criteria for being included, whether the investigation was thorough and unimpeded, and what outcomes were achieved. A quantitative analysis revealed no correlation between whether it was a thorough investigation and the achieved outcomes. A second quantitative analysis showed a strong relationship between material software support and outcomes of a legal nature. For qualitative analysis a theme analysis of the self-described role and responsibilities of investigators was conducted, offering a generalizable goal of: Investigating and rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse, and a more inclusive: Prevent, investigate, and root out fraud, waste, abuse, misconduct, and corruption to preserve or restore efficiency. Participants in the study diagnosed case significance as primarily egregious cases that betrayed a public trust or impacted a vulnerable group. Primary obstacles to thorough investigations were suspect cooperation, political, evidence quality, jurisdictional, bureaucratic, legal limits, limited skillsets, scope, and understaffing.